Wrapped in Love (Part II)

When one goes through difficult and dark times, you find out who your friends really are. I’ve been reminded in countless ways that I am greatly blessed and surrounded by caring, loving friends.

My Des Moines MQG friends started making a quilt for Frank as soon as he was diagnosed. In addition, they dropped off a gift card for me each week to use at a healthy grocery store/restaurant near the hospital. When he passed away two weeks later, they decided to finish the quilt anyway, and give it to me. I finally attended a meeting again a few months later, when they presented it to me:photoFrank played the banjo, guitar, and mandolin and was as interested in music as I am fabric. He knew very little about quilts when we started dating, and I remember us visiting a small neighboring town, and they happened to have a mini quilt show on display in the Public Library. He asked a lot of questions, about what makes a quilt a quilt, the layers, the process, block names. He even read some of my quilting books over the years, learned to identify certain traditional blocks (so he could impress my friends by knowing the lingo), and enjoyed visiting quilt shops with me just to see “how one differed from the next”. The fact that this quilt combines his hobby and my hobby–he would have been over the moon for it!

QuiltFull

Twelve different members contributed banjo and guitar blocks on light backgrounds, one member pieced the blocks together, another member pieced the back (using some musical quotes and sheet music fabric:

QuiltBack

QuiltBackLabelthen they passed it along to another member who quilted it (using echoing lines to give it the feel of the music reverberating). There is a label on the back with all of their names.

I love the details in some of these instruments:BanjoCollage1The inside of that red banjo (above) says “hope” the brown and blue banjo (top right) says “pure grace” on the bridge (at the bottom of the strings). The guitar below has tiny musical notes inside the sound hole:GuitarBanjoCollage3

GuitarCollage1It’s a shame he never got to see this quilt, he would have been so impressed and so touched. I am. It reminds me of him, and as I said, the fact that it combines our favorite hobbies makes it all the more special.   QuiltFrontBottomCenterThank you, again, for everything.

Pillow Talk

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had several catch-up posts to write… this post contains two fairly recent projects, one made in November and the other in early December.

The Des Moines MQG meets once a month, January-November, and our November meeting is always a party with a holiday themed swap. I typically come up with a plan and execute it in the eleventh hour–why mess with tradition? I was inspired by this cute Winter city scape fabric in my stash, so two nights before the party, I started making a reverse applique snowflake, and added some big-stitch quilting around the edges of the snowflake:

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Detail

Marny took my pillow home and added it to her collection… I won this cute Heather Ross postage stamp embroidery hoop by Crystal:

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Here is our post-swap group photo with everyone holding what they won (our  junior members, in front, organized a private swap between the two of them):

DSMMQGHolidaySwap2014

A few weeks later, I made a Glimmer pillow using the sidekick ruler as a shop sample for Woodside Quilting (They have kits for this pillow available if you are interested). The medallion is six different batiks, the background is Carolyn Friedlander’s Cross Hatch from her Botanics line:

Glimmer Pillow 1

I basically made this in a day; I was impressed at how quickly it went together–a well written pattern with excellent illustrations. It is put together with six triangular segments:

Glimmer Segments

Couldn’t resist taking a few photos of it in the fresh snow since it looks like a snowflake or snow crystals to me:

Glimmer Pillow 2

This one shows the straight line quilting a little better:

Glimmer Detail 2

This past weekend I attended our DSMMQG Sewing Day and started recovering some cushions for a vintage camper my stepdaughter and her boyfriend recently purchased. It’s not the most exciting sewing project, so I was glad I had friends around to chat with while I started to tackle it.

Happy Sewing,

Doris

Seems so long ago…

In October 2013, our Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild chapter exchanged tote bags we made for another member of the guild. Mine was made by Leila, and she blogged about it here. I took pictures in October (2013) of the bag I made, and in January (2014) of the bag I received…BagFromLeila3The bag I’m carrying is the one Leila made me. It’s reversible, made with Echino linens… (grabbed this photo from Leila because my photo of this side didn’t turn out)

BagFromLeila5incorporates my love of Britain…BagFromLeila1

BagFromLeila2Love the triple zipper pocket…

BagFromLeila4And the bag I made was for Melissa; she likes Heather Ross and Lizzy House prints, orange and yellow and grey color combinations. I started with some fussy-cutting of Heather Ross fabrics…

ToteBagSwapA1which morphed into a front and back panel bordered with linen on each side…some big stitch quilting…

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ToteSwap3The lining is from Lizzy House’s Red Letter Day collection…

ToteSwap2And the finished front and back:

ToteFinal1

ToteFinal2Blogged over a year late, but better late than never…

Happy Sewing,

Doris

How procrastination led to a happy accident

I love a good challenge; and I jumped at the chance to join in the Riley Blake Challenge. These fat eighths (approx. 9″ x 22″) were given to us in October (photo courtesy of the Boston MQG website):

Riley Blake Challenge Fabrics

So I had three months to make something quilted using these prints, solid fabrics and additional Riley Blake prints. The deadline even was extended at one point.  But naturally, I started cutting into them about five weeks ago, a full 3 months after these prints were given to me. I had grand ideas to do something to play up the radial design in the orange print, akin to what Linda did. But I changed my mind many, MANY times. An elaborate design, including many small circles, was NOT going to happen in five short weeks.

When I did finally cut into the fabric I was still undecided, so I just cut a bunch of squares and started piecing half-square triangles using Riley Blake stripes, chevrons, ombre dots, a few prints from an Ashbury Heights charm pack I had, a fun red jigsaw puzzle print, and a few different grey/taupe solids from my stash. I focused on using the orange, navy and the greys from the original fabric pack.

Rile Blake Challenge HSTs

As I sewed my squares up into HSTs, an idea popped into my head, so I sat down and drew it out on graph paper. Then I scooped everything up and took it with me to retreat that weekend; where I sewed, pressed, and trimmed for two days straight.  The final design is a throw 64″ x 75″:

RBC_Full

UPDATE 2/19/14: My quilt was selected as one of the Top 10 in the Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Design Challenge, here! Lots of beautiful entries–I’m honored & humbled to have my quilt chosen.

Once I had the top made and a back pieced together, I passed it off to my business partner, Trina, to quilt on her long-arm. Trina had just gotten a copy of Judi Madsen’s new book that week, and she wanted the opportunity to play with the large areas of negative space I created. She outdid herself…

RBC_Quilting

RBC_QuiltingDetail1

RBC_Detail4

RBC_Detail1

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See how she created shadow HSTs, including quilting the chevron design, the polka dots, and the jigsaw puzzle fabric design? Seriously amazing.

RBC_BlockDetail

I used many of the prints from the front to piece the back, along with two cream solids from my stash:

RBC_Back

RBC_Backdetail

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The binding is navy solid. These pics were taken before the quilt was washed an blocked. Now it’s washed, soft, crinkly and oh so beautiful! Had I not procrastinated, and started this challenge before the holidays, I would have ended up with a very different design. And Trina probably wouldn’t have asked to quilt my challenge quilt. And I wouldn’t have ended up with this amazing quilt. Serendipitous.

RBC_StyleShot

Happy Sewing,

Doris

In from the Cold

It was ONE degree Fahrenheit when I left the house for work this morning. That is COLD. Des Moines, Iowa got 8.5 inches of snow yesterday–welcome to living in a house with a sloped driveway and a single car garage (that currently doesn’t fit a vehicle!). Not that I am complaining–we love our home and we are extremely grateful to be out of the condo! But the snow does present and extra challenge or two! 😉

I’ve been so busy this Autumn; apparently too busy to blog — though I had plenty of material I could’ve blogged about! I took a class at the University where I work, in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications; called Social Media Strategies.  I learned so much, but I am so glad to have given my final presentation last week and to be done with the class.

The Thursday before Thanksgiving the Des Moines MQG met for our holiday social. We had freezing rain (icy conditions) that evening, so many didn’t make it.  However, we had a decent sized crowd, good food and great company.  We do a holiday swap (everyone is asked to bring a grab bag item for any holiday our season of our choosing).  I made this mug rug/mini quilt from Kate Spain’s In From the Cold pattern (I downsized it to make the block smaller):

Kate Spain In from  the cold Teacup Mini by Doris

Those little sawtooth squares (half-square triangles) are like 1/2″ finished on my version!

Teacup Mini by Doris 2

On the back, I used up some orphan Flying Geese that I made while testing methods and sizes for our Fox in a Box pattern.

Teacup Mini Back

Teacup Mini back 2

The item I brought home from the swap was this wonderful organizer that Jill made using one of my favorite Christmas fabric collections from recent years:

Organizer by Jill

Organizer by Jill Inside

There were some other great handmade items, check out our post to see more of them!

Row House Creations is keeping me busy as well; working on Building Foundations Sampler blocks each week, our weekly business workday, quilts for magazine submissions, and a new pattern that we hope to introduce before too long.

I’ll be back soon with a catch-up post or two!

a Blessed Advent Season,

Doris

It’s late September and I really should be…

Name that tune! (Sorry, for some reason I have all kinds of song lyrics going through my head this week) It all started with seeing an Earth, Wind & Fire feature on CBS Sunday Morning (my favorite show!) and seeing footage of this tune. Watching that video just totally cheered me up. Anyway, back on track:

September is National sewing Month (yep–has been since 1982!). A proclamation in 1982 from President Ronald Reagan declaring September as National Sewing Month read “In recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation.” Hooray for the home-sewist! In 1982, my Mom was raising five kids, her oldest was headed off to his first year of college that Autumn, the second was a Junior in high school, the middle (ME!) was an 8th grader, my little brother in 7th grade, and my baby sis was a 1st grader. My mom sewed ALL of my Dad’s shirts (button down with collar and set-in sleeves, thank you very much), many clothes for my brothers, and nearly all of my and my sister’s clothing, including our lovely box-pleated plaid school uniform skirts (ick). She also did in-home daycare. How she found time to sew, I have no idea. But, I know some of she did to save pennies. I’m not sure that one could sew clothing cheaper than buying it anymore, but in the 70s and 80s, she could.  I really need to dig us some photos from my childhood to show you some of my mom’s mad sewing skills.

So, what have I been sewing this September?  I’m working on a quilt for the grandbaby:

Gemma PiecingI have 18 blocks made (thanks to our MQG sew-in time this past Saturday!) but I’m torn on the layout. Updates to follow.

I’m working on some wonky log-cabins using hoarded Heather Ross, Amy Butler and Sandi Henderson prints (a gift for someone):

ToteSwap1

I have grand plans to do some garment sewing for myself (I have since January 2012, but not much is happening on that front). Maybe next month. sigh.  You’ll notice these two are both sleeveless dresses, I could have them ready to wear by the time Summer comes around again…

Clothing Sewing Vintage Pattern1

ClothingSewing2

Trina and I have been sewing blocks for the recent launch of our Building Foundations Sampler QAL, here are my blocks (Moda Bella white with all Kaffe Fassett prints):

Building Foundations QAL Collage

Building Foundations Sampler QAL

Join us over on the Row House Creations blog, and follow along or join us and share your pics with us via the Facebook page or the Flickr group!

We’ve also been busy marketing our patterns to wholesale distributors. Last week we were picked up by United Notions/Moda and Quilt Craft Distributors (in Canada)! A major accomplishment for our business.

What have you been sewing lately?

Do you join in Quilt Alongs? Will you join in on our’s?